18 August 2020

Continuity of Care Must Be at The Forefront of Minds as Plans Are Made for How Patients Access GP Services Post-COVID

Responding to a new study in the British Journal of General Practice ‘Primary medical care continuity and patient mortality: a systematic review’ Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “When considering the future of general practice, it’s vital that we place continuity of care at the forefront of our minds.

"We know the trusted GP-patient relationship is something many patients value most about general practice. It is unique, often built over time – and it allows GPs to deliver the holistic, relationship-based care that they excel at delivering. And this study in the British Journal of General Practice adds to the mounting evidence that continuity of care can benefit patients in many ways.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, GPs and our teams have mostly interacted with patients remotely but we’ve remained acutely aware that face-to-face appointments are often necessary – and moving forward we want patients to have a choice as to how they access GP services to suit their needs and preferences. Many GPs have reported that patients, particularly those with complex needs, prefer seeing their doctor in person. Many GPs prefer this too, in part because being in the same room can help facilitate building the relationships with patients on which continuity of care is based.

"While GPs and our teams will embrace technology and new ways of working, it’s imperative that we retain continuity of care, regardless of how we interact with our patients and deliver general practice services. We understand that some patients value convenience over continuity, and it’s important that those patients’ needs are met, but those who do value continuity, who are often our patients who have complex, long-term health conditions, it must be made available to them."

Further Information
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The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.